Why Charter a Captain?

Chartering a good guide is an investment into a great fishing trip

Chartering an Orlando fishing trip is more reasonable than you might think!

This is my attempt to outline why many people choose to charter regularly rather than own their own boat.  It has some serious relevancy and should be considered.

 
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Website Created by Keith Kalbfleisch
Copyright © 2001 Saltwater Adventures of Central Florida. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01/26/14.

Don't go it alone, charter a good guide

Why Charter?

 By Captain Keith Kalbfleisch

Why should you charter a fishing trip rather than just do it by yourself?  There are some times when chartering a captain and boat are far more appropriate.  In this article we will look at when it makes sense to use a captain, and when it is better to do it on your own.  I will primarily address the points to my specialty, inshore fishing, but it is just as, or more, applicable to offshore fishing.

The most obvious time to charter is if you are in an area visiting.  For example, tourists to our area often would like to sample the famous Indian River Lagoon fishing for redfish and spotted seatrout.  When you donít have the time (like years!) to learn the area, and donít have the proper type of boat and equipment, it is absolutely imperative to charter a captain for any serious chance of success.

But what about locals?  Is there ever a reason to charter?  Absolutely.  There are two circumstances where you should consider chartering a trip.  The first is when you have the boat and equipment (or you at least think you do), but need to learn how to fish the area, or second, you donít fish often, and it is more cost effective to you to charter.   

If you are local, and have a boat with the appropriate fishing gear, then there is no reason you canít go out and learn the local fishing yourself.  However, these fish are not pursued in common ways, and it may take you years to learn it on your own.  It is well worth the money spent to take a charter or two and see proper techniques usedóit will save you much money in the future.

Speaking of money saved, letís look at the second reason why a local would want to charter.  If you do not fish very regularly, it is very cost effective to charter when you go fishing.  In order to show you what I mean, letís see what it would cost you to have a decent boat, with the costs involved (Iíve tried to be very realistic with middle-of-the-road costs and based it on a decent tow vehicle from the greater Orlando area):

Per-Month Expenses:

            Boat and trailer payment                                                    $250

            Insurance                                                                             $55

            Yearly maintenance (per year divided by 12)                      $68

            Registration (per year divided by 12)                                    $4

            License (per year divided by 12)                                          $2

                                                            Total Monthly Costs:          $379

Per-Trip Costs:

            Vehicle Gas                                                                         $40

            Boat Gas                                                                             $30

            Boat Oil                                                                                 $5

            Bait/Lures                                                                            $10

            Ice                                                                                          $5

            Line & gear replacement (per year divided by 12)               $16

                                                 Total Trip Costs:                            $106

These are not the same costs that a captain running a charter incurs, since he has a number of additional costs for higher insurance licensing, etc., nor is it indicative of the costs of nearshore or offshore boats and trips, which are much higher.

Obviously, if you are able to go out often, your monthly expenses are spread out over the trips and each trip becomes more reasonable.  This works out as follows for up to four trips per month (for those of you that are lucky enough to go out once a week!):

                                                                                 Per Trip     Per Month

 One Trip per Month ($379 + $106):                         $485           $485

 Two Trips ($379 + $106 x 2 then divided by 2)       $295.50      $591

 Three Trips ($379 + $106 x 3 then divided by 3)     $232.33      $697

 Four Trips ($379 + $106 x 4 then divided by 4)       $200.75      $803

If you compare this to a trip with me on The MTC, a 5-hour trip on the flats is about $350, and I can take two anglers, so the trip is only $175 each.  As you can see, it is very competitive, and you donít even have to wash the boat!

Iíve left for last the most important reason for chartering a captainóknowledge.  If your time is worth anything in life, then you know how precious fishing time is.  When you are with a knowledgeable captain, then your chances of catching fish seriously improve, saving your time and giving you great memories.  You can see why some clients opt for a continuing relationship with a captain, and schedule regular trips instead of having boats themselves.

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